Khabib Nurmagomedov reaffirmed his retirement from MMA on Friday, despite UFC president Dana White suggesting to TMZ Sports he could coax the undefeated lightweight champion back into the Octagon with a megafight.
Speaking to Russia's RT Sport (via ESPN's Ariel Helwani), Nurmagomedov made clear he's done with the sport:
"There will always be rumors about my comeback," Nurmagomedov said. "... But I have no plans to continue fighting."
Nurmagomedov shocked UFC fans by retiring immediately after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in a lightweight title unification bout.
The 32-year-old cited the recent unexpected death of his father and long-time trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, as the central reason for his retirement.
White invoked Abdulmanap to TMZ, telling the website it was a dream of Khabib's father for his son to finish with a 30-0 record. Nurmagomedov is currently at 29-0.
The UFC boss tossed out Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson as opponents he believes Nurmagomedov would come back to fight, but Khabib quickly shut that down.
"There will always be rumors about my comeback because Dana White, or other promoters who could replace him in the future, will always want me to fight," Nurmagomedov said. "It's all about big money, views and media coverage, so I am sure they will keep chasing me. ... They always want the show to go on."
On Thursday, ESPN's Brett Okamoto asked Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, what kind of fight would interest Khabib to return. The manager said he could see Nurmagomedov perking up if Georges St-Pierre were finally interested in making a fight happen, but White told TMZ he's not considering that option.
It seems the UFC president will have to get used to life without one of his top fighters unless either he or Nurmagomedov changes his mind.